Summer nights 

Maria and Mario chowed down their dinner on Sunday night because Jon got a text from Biscuit and Cookie’s dad that they would be over in ten minutes to ride electric scooters with Mario. Ri chimed in that she wanted to go, too, on her bike.

Mario’s response in a flirty voice: “Ri has a date with Cookie….” 

She shoved him into the table.

We told them both to be back at Cookie’s and Biscuit’s house at 8 pm because it was a school night. Last word out of their mouths “ok.”

And 8 pm came and went. Jon was trolling the streets trying to find all of them. I was walking up and down adjacent streets. We asked neighbors if they’d seen them. Now, I was not too concerned for their safety. They were together in pairs – Ri and Cookie and Mario and Biscuit. That is one beautiful thing about our neighborhood – it has sidewalks, people are out, kids are running around. But I was irritated that they hadn’t listened to us. 

Finally, I see Ri and Cookie and Lucia biking down the street laughing and having a great time.

 “We stopped by and said hi to Lucia! When we told her Cookie’s mom was making ice cream sundaes she got her bike and joined us!”

Ok, we nabbed two of them but we needed the other two rascals. It was 8:20 and nothing. Then I get a phone call. My neighbor says “I’ve got two boys – one in neon. Want me to hold them til you get here?” Little does Mario know there are eyes all over Grandview watching him. I asked my neighbor to send them to Biscuit’s house.

   When I asked where they were, Mario replied excitedly “the highway!” 

What?!

He explained that he had convinced Biscuit to go down Grandview Ave. towards Tim Horton’s and the highway to “spice up” their usual route. Jon and I had a long talk with him about staying within a two block boundary. He is quite the instigator and I would bet he’s gonna be quite our little rule breaker, too.

But we forgot all about being irritated with them once the ice cream sundaes were served.  Moose track Ice cream, chocolate chips, chocolate syrup, whipped cream. Yum! We are gonna miss these summer nights.

   
  

 

wild childs

There is a family who lives close to us that we adore and they have two kids who are Maria and Mario’s ages. H is the same grade as Ri and R is one grade higher than Mario. It is a god-send because we can get the girls together at the same time as the boys and no one feels left out. 

This weekend, Jon and I took the girls and Mel and Stephen took the boys. Inevitably, we have crazy stories to tell when we swap the kids back to their respective houses. These kids party hard together! 

The girls went to their first book club meeting Saturday evening and made waffles with all sorts of toppings in honor of the book they are reading “Everything on a Waffle.” 

 
They were dosed up on sugar when I picked them up. We decided to head to the G-View Hop to get some Jeni’s ice cream. It was packed with people and the girls were charged to get two scoops of Jeni’s ice cream. We walked down to Nicholas’ house and said hi to him and his dad.  The girls love Nicholas, who is five years old and sweet as can be. After chatting with them, we headed to Trinity to play on the playground. The girls were wild and crazy along the way saying hi to people and jumping all over the place. They were even more insane at the park getting wet on the slides and taking their shoes off to run around. All I could envision was the two of them in college at some campus party; they would be the center of attention, no doubt.

  
They settled into the evening at 11 pm after taking showers and putting their hair up in towels.

  
The next morning, they begged for waffles so they could load them up like at book club. I agreed (I’m such a sucker). Notice how delicate and organized H’s waffle is compared to Ri’s insanity.

   
 

After some playing on the trampoline and xBox, we headed back up to the Avenue for one more dose of Jeni’s (Sunday Funday = ice cream for lunch). Of course it started pouring rain as soon as we left but the girls wanted to keep scootering. Wild childs.

  
Yea, these two make the boys look tame. They met us at Jeni’s with dry shirts and calm demeanors. They clearly had not been sufficiently sugared up on waffles, chocolate syrup and marshmallows. 

  

Getting it in

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It was 60 degrees when I got home from work last night. There was no way these kids were getting out of going for a walk with me. The whining about it being too cold to go outside began a couple of weeks ago right alongside the daylight savings’ time change. I feel their pain. It’s hard for me to push myself back out the door when I get home and it’s pitch black outside. My heart tells me to throw on my pjs and be done. But my mind tells me to take the dog out, get some cold air, enjoy the darkness and calm.
But this tug-o-war of the body and mind did not have to occur last night because it was warm outside. Like the beginning of Spring after a Winter frost. Delightful.
I offered to take two friends with us but everyone they called was being responsible and doing homework. So it was just us. I compromised and agreed to Jeni’s if they ate a good dinner.
I love walking with my two babes. They are hysterical and darling and observant. Mario acted like he was running into the telephone posts to make Ri laugh. Ri pointed out all the Christmas decor in the windows and how strange that was when we haven’t even had Thanksgiving.
“Get used to it, girlie.” I told her.
We were the only ones in Jeni’s and we had a sample fest. Mario cracks me up with his staple choice – wild berry lavender. I wish he’d choose chocolate because he never finishes his and I am not a fan of lavender. Ri, on the other hand, always goes for the chocolate and peanut butter scoops – my favorites…but she eats all of hers! Mario got his first and sat at the bar. When we went to sit by him, he shooed us away.
“I want to sit by myself, guys.”
He’s been starting this new independent phase where he wants to order on his own, sit on his own, do everything on his own. I won’t complain.
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After Jeni’s, they begged to go to the park. It was 7:15 and a responsible mom would have denied such a request. They still needed to read and take a bath and get to bed at a reasonable time with school in the morning. But I’m not a responsible mom when it comes to the last few gorgeous 60 degree nights of the season. We need to slurp it up while we can. And so the park we went. I chased them around, they slid down slides and I gave them some wild, twisted underdogs. Mario was scared to twist his swing chains around and then be pushed high in the air to untangle; but after watching Ri do it over and over, he tried it. Pure glee.
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They did a good job enjoying the evening with me. When we got home I asked them “wasn’t I right? Wasn’t it awesome getting outside?”
They both looked at each other and then back at me and shrugged their shoulders. They artfully dodged the question by wrestling around on the floor for the next five minutes.
Yea, they were not going to admit that mom was right. But I know….>

First day of school – 2014

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And so a new school year begins….
Mario in First and Ri in Fourth. We had one school year – last year – where the kids were both in the same building. It passed too quickly, and now we have Ri heading to the Intermediate school just a few blocks from our street and Mario staying at the Elementary school about a mile away. Ri has to be to school by 8 am (and will deal with nothing less than being ten minutes early) and Mario has to be at school by 8:15 (and could care less if he’s there early). It made for an interesting first morning. Jon and I had to draw straws to see who took who. Actually, we didn’t in the end because we both knew who Mario would want to take him. Jon. He’s a huge dad fan lately. So Ri and I started up our street at 7:35 am hoping to meet some friends along the way. We found Nora!
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Then Lucia!
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And then throngs of kids in front of the school doors. Ri talked with random friends and then the teacher came out to welcome them. I snuck in behind Ri and got to see her classroom. She promptly shoo’d me away and I obeyed. But not before making sure her school supplies were in the room. They weren’t. Great. I confirmed with her teacher that they wouldn’t need them today and found the name of the PTO rep who I needed to call. I swore I ordered her supplies not once, but twice on line just to be safe. She’s the child that will freak out if everything is not in order. I left without even telling her so she wouldn’t stress all day and promptly called the rep to make sure I could have her supplies by tomorrow.
Then I biked like Lance Armstrong down to Mario’s school. When I arrived, there was a line around the school to enter. I cut through it and I made it to Mario’s room in time to see him planted in his seat ready to learn.
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I had managed to get his supplies ordered ( the child who could care less). One star for me. Mario was quiet and shy. He began to draw on the sheet of paper in front of him that had the words “Summer, I did….” He kept glancing around at friends coming in the classroom. He doesn’t have any of his football buddies or previous boys from Kindergarten in the classroom but I know he will make quick friends. My girlfriend sent me this darling GQ-like picture from earlier in the morning.
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It was much easier to drop off this year than last year when Mario cried and cried. He’s growing up.
I biked over to Ri’s school at lunch. They had a 4-8th grade cookout. They were dancing to the YMCA song and running everywhere. Ri was her chill self sitting on the jungle gym.
“Why don’t you go dance, Ri?”
“I don’t want to.”
I smiled and rubbed her dangling foot. I’m learning to stand back. As much as I want to advise her on who to play with and who to befriend, I’ve got to let her be and trust that she will figure it out like we all did as young girls.
I biked from work at 2:30 to catch Mario after school. He came running out happy as can be
and chatting with his buddies. He confirmed he had a great day – thank goodness. I expected Ri to be down there when I arrived but she was not. I started to ridiculously fret that maybe she went home instead or got kidnapped or had to walk alone or… You name it, I thought it.
I got a text at 2:55 from Ri’s friend, Evie informing me that Ri wanted to talk to me.
“Mom, we are at the top of the hill;can I go say hi to Mrs. Pharion?”
I was relieved she had made it down from Edison and that she was not asking me to pick her up (she is not my walker girl). When I caught up with her, I asked her how the walk to Stevenson was. She said “great.” I was very happy to hear that word; hopefully she will continue to like walking home with Kathryn and Evie. It’s good for her. It also led to her pleading for a phone like Evie has and ten justifications for having one. This will an on-going battle this year, I am sure.
By the time I got done talking to Maria, Mario had decided to go with Stephanie and Quinn to DQ. Sophie ran over to Ri to ask her to go. Ri planted a big hug on her.
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And they were off for after-school ice cream with their buddies. First day over and done with – grateful to see it end with smiles and friends.
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A Summer Night

A Summer night

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Sitting on the curb
Licking rainbow ice cream
As it melts onto the cone
Burnt cheeks and tanned arms
From long summer days
The thrill of being 20 feet away from authority;
as long as that authority still cuddles with them at bed time.

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Blackberry crisp or vanilla bean?
“Let’s go for dark chocolate
with a dollop of whipped cream…”
Chatter about cats, teachers, and
Jessie
Random observations of people passing by and
belly laughs ignited by little brothers’ antics.

Brain freeze

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Ri and I ditched the boys the other night and stopped at UDF for ice cream. They had a buy-one-get-one-free sale so there was no doubt we had to head there. They were out of my favorite peanut butter and chip so I had to go with cookies-n-cream and cherry cordial. Maria, as usual, took forever to decide a flavor.

She finally chose peanut butter fudge cups with chocolate sauce and whipped cream (the ice cream scooper knows my “only a little bit of chocolate syrup” look by now, thank god, because before that she was getting enough sauce to feed her classroom). We both dug into our deliciousness and we both pooped our heads up a few seconds later. Our eyes squinted.

We had brain freezes.

We laughed at one another’s goofy expressions and then Ri asked why we get brain freezes. It’s certainly handy in 2012 to have an iPhone on hand to research such questions. If I would have asked my mom that question in 1978, we would have had to go to the library (remember the card catalogs at the library?!) and research by using actual books. Ahhh! Maria looked at me like I was 100 years old when I told her that.

We found out that a brain freeze happens when the cold strikes the palate of your mouth which strikes your nerves which swells the blood vessels in your head which gives you a headache. What can you do to prevent it?

Eat more slowly.

Forget it, we decided we will deal with the pain.

Slightly insane but still kickin’ it

Mothers are all slightly insane. – JD Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

And there you have it summed up well.  I thought of this quote tonight as I sat with my girlfriend, Amy and her two kids and husband at Jeni’s ice cream parlor.  Maria and Mario wanted to see Zach and Grace (Amy’s kids) and we decided to meet at a local ice cream parlor and sit outside.  Zach is as wild as Mario so whenever the two of them get together, it tends to be chaotic.  Gracie and Maria do their own thing – typically not together since there is a two-year difference – but they are cool with just hanging out in their own separate hemispheres.  

Maria and Zach - minus two teeth

When we got to Jeni’s, Amy and her hubby already had a table.  Zach came running up to me and rammed into my side.  Mario jumped on him and fake-punched him in the back.  Maria climbed on Mario.  Gracie watched.  Let the chaos begin.  A friend with a daughter in Maria’s class was in front of me in line for ice cream.  She began to make small-talk with me about what teacher Maria had next year while Mario was dodging in and out of the stools with Zach.  This is how the conversation ensued:

Her: “So, who does Maria have this year?”

Me: “She has, ugh…Mario, get off the floor and stand over here now! She has Ms. Palmer – is she any (evil eye to Mario) good?”

Her: “I hear she is just awesome. Did Maria like her first grade teacher?”

Me: “Yeah, she… Mario, stand still now; do not move another inch or no ice cream! Yes, she really liked her – Maria, watch out for the wandering baby! – first grade teacher.”

And so it went for another five minutes as my friend waited in line without any children in tow surely thanking the heavens for a night with no interruptions.  When I went to sit down, it started all over again.  Amy and I would get a question and half an answer out before interrupting one or the other with a command to one of the children.  But somehow we were able to pick up where we left off in the conversation – even if it was right in mid-sentence – and complete our thoughts.  Mothers may be slightly insane but we can multi-task with the best of them and walk away from a get-together having got caught up on each others’ lives and kept the children from disaster!